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Today's automotive crisis spells a unique opportunity to build future market share, says Autovia

Today's automotive crisis spells a unique opportunity to build future market share, says Autovia

CRISIS in the automotive sector today is creating a unique opportunity for car makers to win future market share by building stronger relationships with tomorrow's car buyers.

That's the view of Britain's leading advertising and car buying demand generation platform, Autovia, after seeing unprecedented growth in customer leads for electric vehicles.

Autovia signals its optimism for the future even as today's supply constraints bite harder and the forecourt fuel crisis deepens.

Just three months after launching a Customer Data Platform (CDP) to profile and connect car-buyers with car makers and retailers, Autovia is seeing unprecedented growth in sign-ups for new car offers and information.

As Autovia expected, the growing forecourt fuel crisis has prompted a surge of 19% in the proportion of requests by readers and viewers of titles such as Auto Express and Car Throttle to be connected directly with EV makers.

But Andy Oldham, CEO of Autovia, predicts that the winners in tomorrow's market - when the three-pronged crisis of Covid-19, the semiconductor shortage and fuel delivery crisis are over - will be those who connect most effectively with customers today.

"What today's grim headlines are missing is the opportunity that often flows from a crisis - and today's problems open up a real chance to shine for those with the vision to grasp the long-range opportunity," he said.

"For example, brand loyalty in a transforming sector like the rapidly electrifying car market is even harder to win, let alone build on, when manufacturers can't keep up with demand today.

"But that is all the more reason for the best oems and dealers to finesse their marketing to focus on identifying tomorrow's most profitable customers," he argues.

Dubbed 'the brain of the business', Autovia's CDP is revealing exactly the aspirational car buyers who will be crucial in helping the industry to achieve full electrification by the end of the decade.

This offers manufacturers a chance to nurture relationships with enthusiastic 'opted-in' customers so they can capitalise when today's constraints are resolved.

"Waiting until supply problems ease at a future unspecified point, rather than reaching out to those customers right now, risks missing a unique opportunity to build interest and trust over time," said Oldham.

"Long-term relationship nurturing is key to tomorrow's market share and waiting until the market is back to some kind of normal will only create a scramble for eyeballs and leads at a future point, when every competitor is chasing the same buyers."

Autovia says that those manufacturers who continue to advertise and build banks of opted-in leads - despite unprecedented supply constraints - are playing a longer game of building future demand and will be the real winners in a post-pandemic market.

"Every day we are signing up more of our audience as would-be customers for new cars. Those people are uniquely open to buying opportunities and offers today, but ignoring them until a future point when it's easier to fulfil their demands is to miss the chance to gain an early advantage during recovery," stresses Oldham.

"Key to a successful post-pandemic strategy is longer term thinking about how to identify tomorrow's customers and nurture those relationships with creative communications until the point at which you can supply them."

The unsurprising surge in interest in evs, as forecourts ran dry over the past seven days, presents an opportunity to identify the 'EV-curious' customer of tomorrow in particular, Autovia says.

A 19% increase in registrations of interest in evs on Autovia's CDP over just 72 hours is seen by the business as even more significant than the remarkable increases in traffic received by EV content across its brands.

For example, a review of the best evs available in 2021 shot overnight to the 2nd most popular article on Auto Express with a 63% increase in readership compared with all previous weeks. A similar article on the advice website saw a 22% boost in attention.

Meanwhile, Autovia's specialist EV site drivingelectric is currently receiving 16% more traffic than usual and visits to its latest guide to new electric cars shot up by 117% as last week's fuel crisis headlines became more alarming.

Andy Oldham said: "Many businesses are talking about increased interest in evs at the moment, but there is a difference between mere curiosity and intent.

"What's exciting for us and our manufacturer partners is that we're now seeing the conversion of significant traffic to our expert electric vehicle articles into real customer leads. Even if those people can't buy their first EV as soon as they would wish, they represent a pipeline worth nurturing for when market pressures begin to ease.

"It may be a timeworn cliche but the wisest response to the crisis our industry faces today is to keep calm and nurture tomorrow's customer relationships."    

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